Monday, 8 December 2014

How American Embassy is Ripping Nigerians off Through Shady Visa Denial

...Generates $Millions Monthly on Visa Fees
The American government announced last year that the yearly America visa lottery will no longer be receiving applications from Nigeria as the country has used up its allotted number of emigrants through the American visa lottery. This invariably means that, the lottery is closed to Nigerians. The reaction among Nigerians on the contrary was that, the decision was because of the disagreement between American and the Nigerian government on the issue of Nigeria’s refusal to allow same gender marriage.

Though it later proved that the matter may not be the reason for the decision as it decision did not single Nigeria out. It was in the course of this that another visa policy was introduced which is meant to encourage Nigerians to apply more for the American visa. It was announced earlier in the year that the duration of visas issued to Nigerians will be increased. This, coupled with the introduction of the online submission of non-immigrant visa application increased the number of applicants for the American visa in the country. Then come the era of indiscriminate refusal, unlike other embassies like the German Embassy and others there is need to pay the visa application fees of $160 or its equivalent in Naira (N26,000), to the purse of the embassy and this made the denial tricks very interesting as Nigerians are denied visa on all sort of flimsy excuses.

Unconfirmed sources place the refusal rate of Nigerian applicants who were denied visas by the American embassies in Nigeria on daily basis at about 99 per cent of total numbers of those that apply. One other thing that was realized is the system employed by the American visa agents which involves giving false hope to applicants by sweet-talking them into believing that they stand better chance of being issued the visa when they apply next. Whereas, the numbers of those that will be given visa is still the same and it is more like a “lucky dip” or even “Lottery”.

Investigation however revealed that the whole process of denial which is the main thing in the two American embassies in Nigeria is just a gimmick to raise money. A rough and unconfirmed estimate of how much these embassies make on Nigerians is outrageous compare to the number of visa they issue out to Nigerians on monthly basis. Though it cannot be ascertained, sources revealed that the population of visa applicant besieging both the Lagos and Abuja offices of the American embassy cannot be less than 1,000 on daily basis knowing that the embassy entertains visa from applicants in three batches in both embassies with population in excess of 1,000.

A little arithmetic on the amount the embassy makes on Nigerian applicants can be approximated to be in the region of $160,000 on daily basis. This calculation was arrived at by multiplying the visa fee for non-immigrant applicant ($160) by the estimated number of applicants per day (1,000). This means the embassy will be making an average of $160,000 per day. The meaning of this is that the embassy will be making approximately $800,000 a week and $3.2million every month, which made the visa business a very lucrative one for the American embassy in Nigeria. Our calculation is based only on the non-immigrant visa application which as at now is $160 with information that it may be increased soon. This is without considering other visa fees with price ranges from $190 to $270 depending on desired visa type.

It is to note that that some of these so called interviews were conducted in less than one minute just to accommodate as much as possible applicants on daily basis. It will also be good to note that, the highest paid worker in America will only earn to the tune of $15 per hour which is the highest in the country. This is only paid in the state of Seattle and one can compare this to the $160 for a visa interview in Nigeria that could be less than one minute. This invariably means they have earned more than 10 hours pay in just less than a minute in Nigeria a country where people live daily on an average that is less than $1.

Meanwhile this massive money making venture in form of travelling to America has been going on for years. Recently, there has been information that the application fee is going to be increased to God knows how much. The Americans however cannot be entirely blamed for turning the Nigerian citizens to money making venture. The Nigerian government has a large share of the blame or how do one expect Nigerians not to want to seek greener pasture abroad when things are not really working well in the country.

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